Lil’ Kim Buys Booze, Watches and Furs While His People Starve

Luxury imports to North Korea are booming as leader snaps up gifts for cronies

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KCNA / Reuters

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (front L) inspects the construction site of the Munsu Swimming Complex, which is nearing completion, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang September 18, 2013.

The North Korean regime under Kim Jong Un may not be able to feed its citizens, but it successfully feeds a booming market for luxury goods imports, a new South Korean government report shows. Citing the report on Monday, lawmaker Yoon Sang-hyun said that the imports of products like furs, pets and mid-sized sedans reached $645.8 million last year, compared to an average of around $300 million under the previous leader, Kim Jong Il.

“The products were given as gifts to key figures in North Korean society to ensure their loyalty to the regime,” Yoon said, listing imports of alcoholic beverages at $30 million and watches at $8.2 million.

Kim Jong Un succeeded his father Kim Jong Il two years ago. Earlier this month, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization stated that North Korea is one of 34 countries that require external assistance to properly feed their people.

[Korea Herald]